A millipede is a harmless arthropod that may be found all over the world. It spends its time consuming rotting plant debris, which makes it essential to the ecology.
These animals resemble centipedes in appearance and name, yet they are significantly different. Centipedes are carnivores, whereas millipedes prefer to feed on rotting plant material.
However, the term millipede means “one thousand foot,” however, no documented millipede has that many legs. These arthropods, on the other hand, often have less than 100 legs. Even the millipede species with the most legs falls short of the 1,000-leg barrier, with just approximately 750.
What attracts the Millipedes?
Millipedes have basic needs, and your yard, house, or company may frequently meet those needs. Food, mainly decaying plant debris, is a significant attractant. They are also attracted to locations with excessive humidity or wetness. Finally, the refuge is vital – and they generally locate shelter inside, beneath, or amid their food supply.
With that information, there are a few places where people and millipedes frequently collide:
- Forests with a lot of leaf litter on the ground
- Wood piles
- Stumps or fallen trees
- Mulch beds (particularly mulch that hasn’t been industrially processed)
- Compost piles
- Leaf accumulations
- Garbage piles
- Under rocks or paver stones
- Moist basements or crawlspaces
Are they harmful?
Millipedes are generally considered low-risk arthropods since they are not aggressive. However, when disturbed, a millipede can produce a chemical that can irritate the skin or eyes. The good news is that millipede secretions in the United States and Canada are considered moderate compared to those found in tropical locations.
There are numerous indications that you have been exposed to millipede defense secretions. If you’ve ever seen or touched a millipede, you could have noticed:
- Darkening of the skin in the places where the millipede came into touch with it
- Itching or burning sensations on the skin
- Blisters on the skin
- Light nausea
- Inflammation of the eyelids or the cornea (if the secretion comes into contact with that area)
- The condition of being blind (very rarely and only when the secretion makes contact with the eye)
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Millipedes: What Do They Look Like? What Is the Difference Between a Millipede and a Centipede?
Millipedes are tall, insect-like animals with a variety of body parts. The majority of their body segments have two pairs of legs. Their bodies are generally cylindrical to defend themselves, and they will frequently wrap up into a spiral.
Millipede colors vary widely, although the most are deep orange, brown, or black. They have tiny antennas as well. Millipedes move slowly, with their legs pushing them forward in a wave-like pattern.
Many people confuse millipedes and centipedes, but variations in their appearance and behavior help distinguish the two. energetic and fast Centipedes are darting from one area to the next, but millipedes are considerably slower. Centipedes typically have less than 15 pairs of legs, with just one pair per body segment, but millipedes can have up to 350. Centipedes prey on other animals, primarily insects and spiders, and use a toxin to immobilize their victim. In addition, millipedes eat rotting plant material. Most significantly, millipedes do not bite humans, but centipedes may and will.
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The life cycle of Millipedes
Millipedes have a life span of seven to ten years and are ready to breed after two to five years. Male millipedes appear to lack legs on either the seventh or final ring of their bodies, and in certain male millipedes, the legs fold into the body and aid in the formation of reproductive organs. The sex organs are located behind the second set of legs in females. Most female millipedes lay 20 to 30 eggs in warm soil after mating. The eggs develop into legless larvae. When millipedes expand in size, they shed their hard shell. This is referred to as moulting. Millipede larvae grow legs during their first moult, and the number of segments rises with each moult. To prevent squandering a vital source of food, millipedes consume the old exoskeleton after moulting.
How to get rid of Millipedes?
Millipedes eat plants and tiny insects. They mainly consume rotting materials or dead plants. Thus they are generally harmless to healthy plants; however, they will devour young seedlings. Millipedes do not bite, sting, or infect people with illnesses. Nevertheless, many people believe they are helpful to have around because they consume rotting materials and help reduce populations of smaller insects.
If you need to keep millipedes out of your house, there are numerous natural methods for repelling and eradicating these pests. Here are a handful of our personal favorites:
DIY millipede traps are pretty simple to construct, and you don’t have to be there to inspect them:
- Insert a slice of fruit into the bottle, making sure it is at the bottom.
- Take a 6-inch piece of vinyl tubing, a plastic soda bottle, some caulk or adhesive, and a piece of ripe fruit. Try to find a piece of tubing that fits tightly inside the bottle’s lip. Insert the tubing into the bottle, leaving about 2 inches of a tube inside, and seal it with sealant or tape.
- Lean the bottle on its side, making sure the tube does not touch the bottle’s sides.
Millipedes will go inside the tube to get to the fruit as it rots and cannot get back out.
Manual removal is one of the simplest and quickest ways to get rid of millipedes. Try not to squash them with your foot since they emit a terrible stench akin to stinkbugs. Instead, you may sweep them up with a broom and dustpan and place them in a bucket of soapy water to kill them, or you can suck them up with a vacuum cleaner or shop vac and dispose of them outdoors.
Boric acid is chemically similar to DE. It also slices up the bugs as they crawl across it, slowly dehydrating them. It also disrupts millipede digestion, leading it to work faster than diatomaceous earth. Boric acid should not be utilized in locations where children or pets are present.
Diatomaceous earth is a crystalline powder that may be used to control a wide range of pests. This natural product’s crystals pierce the strong exoskeletons of pests, producing micropunctures all over their bodies. This dehydrates and eventually kills the bugs. DE can be sprinkled around the perimeters of rooms, behind appliances, between door gaps, on sliding glass doors, around foundations, in houseplant soil, and beneath fences. DE is entirely safe to use on and around humans.
Essential oils work better as repellents than pesticides. Tea tree oil and peppermint oil are the two most often used millipede repellents. Before using essential oils, they should always be diluted with water. Use the oil mixture to seal entrance sites such as windowsills, door gaps, basements, vents, foundation cracks, and crawlspaces. You may also use them outside in locations where millipedes are present, as long as they are protected from rain.
If DIY fails or you prefer to get guaranteed millipedes extermination, professional help is only a phone call away. Vanquish Pest Control provides reliable pest control services and has the expertise to rid your home from these pests.